Jan Morgan-Swegle, Editor

If you are having any kind of event this year, you know that having good food is the key to a successful get together.  One way to ensure you’ll “wow” your guests is to call Joe Caldropoli, owner of Coastal Catering and Events and The Oak and Anchor Restaurant at Lockwood Folly Country Club, located at 19 Clubhouse Drive SW, in Supply.

Joe recently catered the 2nd Annual Writers Award Banquet for Teen Scene Inc., at the Leland Cultural Arts Center and got rave reviews from the attendees.

Joe has been in the food service industry for over 40 years.  He watched  his mother cook when he was  younger and she got him started in the kitchen, but insisted that he go to college.  Graduating with a degree in Food Services and Hospitality Management, Joe went back to what he loves doing—cooking.

Describing himself as an “off the cuff chef,” Joe explained that his recipes are “in his head and  the key to preparing good food is to have a good recipe, good quality food  and then experiment.”  Don’t be afraid to try different things.  Be creative.”

Joe has had what I call an “accidental career.”  In 2006, he was the Food and  Beverage Director for Bald Head Island.  As the “economy fail” started, business dropped and Joe lost his job.  He looked for other opportunities and ended up helping a woman who owned her own catering business, but was going out of business.  He purchased her business for $537.00 in 2007, and his new career took off.  He estimates that he is doing over 500 events a year now.

As most of us were, Joe was impacted by the Covid virus, saying that the last 2 years have been up and down with higher operating costs and staffing issues.  He said, “We’ve been operating on the fly since 2019, but since people weren’t going out to restaurants to eat, I developed a take-out meal program that was a big hit.  We did 5,000 take out meals in 3 months. All you had to do was take them home and microwave them.”

When Joe isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his wife of almost 33 years.  They live in Waterford and have 3 daughters; one is a school teacher and his twins are headed off to college.  He also likes to go to the shooting range and enjoys going to new restaurants.

I asked Joe if he had any food tips for someone “kitchen challenged” like I am.  He laughed and said, “sure—order out!”

Our banquet was a food success.  Joe provided choices of a chicken dish, a glazed pork dish or penne pasta with a light cream sauce, along with a dinner salad and small desserts.  Joe and his team were professional, flexible and fun.

So, if you are having an event, or you’re just allergic to being in the kitchen, like I am,  give him a call at 910 842 8444.